I frequently get questions from potential clients about what are the effects of adultery in the outcome of a divorce. Recently I was asked: "Will it be held against me if I get another woman pregnant before my divorce is final?" This post will be one of several where I’ll answer questions I receive from the trenches.
Texas is a no fault divorce state which essentially means that neither party necessarily has to prove the other did something "wrong" causing the divorce. However, fault grounds often arise in divorce proceedings and the court will consider them in dividing the community property. The division of property under the Texas Family Code has to be "just and right" – not necessarily a 50/50 split. A man and wife are still considered married until the court enters a final decree of divorce, therefore getting another woman pregnant before your divorce is final is considered adultery. So, what is the effect?
The court will take the adultery in consideration when dividing up the community property. Certain counties consider adultery more heavily than others when dividing up the community estate. Some counties take a "what’s the big deal" approach and others are more conservative. So, if you get another woman pregnant while waiting on your divorce to be final, its possible the court will award a disproportionate share of the community estate to the other spouse (or quite possibly, stick the adulterer with more debt).